General Dalbir Singh Suhaag, whose appointment kicked up a row, took over as the new Army Chief from General Bikram Singh. Suhag who was the Vice Chief of Army staff, was a Gurkha in the peace 1987 India Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka. He is the second officer from the Gorkha Rifles to become the Army Chief after the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.
Suhag will serve as the Army chief for the next two year and five months, till December 31, 2016. Suhag holds the distinction of commanding 8 Mountain Division in Kargil from October 2007 to December 2008. BJP had questioned the hurry in making the appointment and insisted that the matter be left to the next government.
Besides holding two Masters Degrees one each in Management Studies and Strategic Studies the General is also qualified in the Executive Course in USA and Senior Mission Leaders Course in UN. The General is a keen sportsman and takes special interest in riding and swimming.
Here are five things you need to know about the new Army Chief:
General Suhag was born in Bishan village in Haryana’s Jhajjar district. His father was a foot soldier and his two previous generations have served at junior ranks in the Indian Army. He is the third generation soldier in his family. He completed his primary education from village school after which he studied at the Army School in Chittogarh district in Rajasthan.
After completing his graduation in Jaipur, he completed various foreign courses including LDMC at College of Defence Management in 1997-98. He also appeared for Executive Course in USA in 2005. He also completed Senior Mission Leaders Course in Kenya in 2007.
- In 1970, he joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) and in June 1974 he was commissioned into the 4th Battalion of the 5 Gorkha Rifles.
- He was an instructor at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun. He has also served as a Company Commander during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.
- From July 2003 to March 2005, he commanded 53 Infantry Brigade in the counter insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley. He has also headed the 8 Mountain Division in Kargil from October 2007 to December 2008.
- After 2008, he was appointed as the Inspector General of the Special Frontier Force.
Former Army chief and now a Union Minister, General VK Singh had imposed the Discipline and Vigilance (DV) a ban against Suhag who was heading the Eastern Command in Nagaland. Singh took the action against Suhag for a military intelligence operation which did not exercise according to the rules. After General Bikram Singh took over as the Army chief the ban was lifted but VK Singh was against the idea of appointing Suhag as the next Army chief.
SC moves stay
Although, a petition was filed by General Ravi Dastane challenging the appointment of Suhag Singh as the next army chief, the Supreme Court of India refused to stay or stall his appointment. The apex court said that there is no need for stalling the appointment and the issues relating to it did not have to be checked at this stage.